Northampton Public Schools Superintendent Blog

August 24, 2012 Weekly musings:

Posted on: August 24, 2012

By: scottchan

I had the opportunity to visit all of our schools this week and speak with our custodial team.  The schools look fantastic; the floors, walls, lighting, and ceilings are bright, clean, refreshed and everyone is ready to receive our students on September 4th.  Meanwhile, teachers are drifting back in from their summer break, arranging their rooms, decorating, and generally preparing for a welcoming and successful opening day.

We welcome our new Associate Principals: Chris Brennan at the high school and Matthew Collins at JFK.  Chris is a veteran of our district serving, most recently, as English teacher and Dean of Students.  Matthew comes to us from Westfield Public Schools where he was working as an Educational Team Leader for special education.  Matthew served Westfield for 19 years and has previously held positions as special education teacher, athletic trainer, and athletic director.

I met with new Smith Vocational Superintendent Jeff Peterson this week.  Jeff is working closely with our high school guidance department to include more students who apply to Smith Voc.  He is interested in opening the door for more Northampton students who will benefit from their programs and we are very happy to offer this choice to more of our students.

The final public forum for the High School Late Start Forum was …quiet.  I am attaching a copy of the proposal handout in the News and Announcement section.  The highlights: #1) if we stay with the same start time, I am recommending we add 20 minutes to the elementary school day (this recommendation holds in each of the proposals); #2) we move all start times ahead by 30 minutes; #3) JFK starts at 7:40, NHS at 8:15, elementary 8:55.    Next step is the final vote on September 13th. I offer a special “thank you” to Stephanie Pick for attending all of the listening sessions, Joy Winnie for her work preparing for each session and her presence, and all the rest of our administrators and school committee members who joined us throughout the series of public forums.

Thursday morning we held an official planning session for our EAT2BHealthy triathlon scheduled for October 27.  More information on routes, times, and practice sessions will be coming soon.

Next week, our Administrative Leadership Team will spend all day Monday at Camp Norwich in a retreat with YMCA CEO David Marks.  Tuesday, we welcome our new teachers to their orientation meetings and Principal Gwen Agna will lead a bus tour of the city schools for ALT and the new teachers.  On Wednesday, I am looking forward to seeing everybody for convocation at the high school beginning at 8:30 for refreshments, 9:00 for welcome speeches.

Immediately following the convocation, teachers will engage in professional development around the common core curriculum.  High school teachers will meet in the cafeteria, JFK teachers will be meeting in teams back at JFK, and elementary teachers will work in grade level teams in 1st floor classrooms.  Special Education ESP’s are scheduled to work in the Little Theater with Laurie Farkas on meeting individual student needs and increasing student independence and autonomy.  Preschool and Kindergarten ESP’s will attend the common core meetings along with all special education faculty.


Brian L. Salzer, Ed.S.

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